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Showing posts from February, 2018

Transforming Theory and Practice

When Sneha Bhat asked if I'd present with her at CEWT #5 the talk we produced was Theoreticus Prime vs Praktikertron . In this essay we've tidied up the notes we wrote in preparation and included a few of the sketches we made when we were developing our model. The title comes from the Transformers we gave the participants at CEWT to explore in an attempt to illustrate different kinds of theory being discovered and shared. CEWT #5 asked this question: theory over practice or practice over theory? It's an age-old conundrum, represented in popular culture by memes like these that you would have seen as you avoid both theory and practice by grazing on social media when you should be working: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is. ( Wiki ) Theory is when you know everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but no one knows why. In our lab, theory and practice are combined: nothing works and no

Cambridge Lean Coffee

This month's  Lean Coffee  was hosted by Roku . Here's some brief, aggregated comments and questions on topics covered by the group I was in. My favourite context-free test is ... Turn everything up to 11. Put all of the settings on their highest levels and see what happens. Power cycling rapidly and repeatedly. Sympathetic testing. Just getting a view for what the product offers. Simply trying to use the product. Smoke test. Try to do the opposite of what any documentation says. Ask how the users will use it. Ask what the customer wanted. Find someone without prior experience of the product to look at it. How do you enhance your personal development in a busy environment? We are given time for personal development at work, but I end up dong work stuff instead.  The company empowers us but it's on us to use the time. I don't want the others on my team to feel that I am slacking by taking the personal development time. I might come in to work ear

Talking the Fork

Four lightning talks at the Cambridge Tester meetup at Linguamatics last night, four topics apparently unrelated to one another, four slices through testing. Yet, as I write up my notes this morning I wonder whether there's a common thread ... Samuel Lewis showed us the money. Or, at least, where the money is held before being dispensed through those holes in the wall. He included some fascinating background information about ATMs (and a scary security story) but the thrust of his talk was the risks and corresponding mitigation strategies in a massive project to migrate the ATMs for a big bank to a new application layer and OS (more scariness: many are still running Windows XP). Much of the approach involved audit trails of various kinds, with customer and other stakeholders sharing their road maps and getting a view of the test planning and strategy in return. I enjoyed that the customer themselves was considered a risk (because they had a reputation for changing their mi

Exploring It!

This week the test team at Linguamatics held our first internal conference. There was no topic, but three broad categories could be seen in the talks and workshops that were given: experience reports, tooling, and alternative perspectives on our work. (The latter included the life cycle of a bug, and psychology in testing.) My contribution was an experience report looking at how I explore both inside and outside of testing. I've tidied up some of my notes from the prep for it below. There are testing skills that I use elsewhere in my life. Or perhaps there are skills from my life that I bring to testing. Maybe I'm so far down life's road that it's hard to tell quite what started where? Maybe I'm naturally this way and becoming a tester with an interest in improvement amped things up? Maybe I've so tangled up my work, life, and hobby that deciding where one starts and another ends is problematic? The answers to those questions is, I think, almost certai